The winter season started over Thanksgiving, when we brought a packed house to Interlaken from Florence, Rome, Barcelona, London, and Paris. The ski conditions were still tepid in the Jungfrau region, but a trip to the glacier for a day of powder was fun for those making the trip. I did not make the trip, as I was apparently a little kid banished to my room for having too much fun, i.e. having a season pass and being able to go snowboarding every weekend. I did not find myself having an adrenaline packed weekend. You know all I did was navigate through a high ropes course and then take a group on a hike to the top of a small mountain in the Alps. It was the excitement, the natural pleasure of everyone who hurled themselves off of cliffs, out of airplanes, shredded powder on the glacier, spent a night sledding through a dark forest and eating fondue, or just hanging at the spa; this was what got me happy, motivated, rewarded for taking a chance, leaving my family and coming back to Europe. If it wasn’t that, it was watching 200 student share a Thanksgiving, a family holiday, 3,000+ miles away from their family and their usual comfort.
The winter rolled on, with the next weekend seeing another large group in Interlaken, and the first major snowfall of the season. We hit the slopes as a team, rolling deep with students on the trip. We arrived at the top of the peak, and I was overwhelmed with joy at the sight of untouched, clean powder to shred, paired with the faces of a dozen experienced skiers and snowboarders who had never seen anything like this. As we made first season’s track with a group of wide-eyed students, as well as my co-workers who did not experience this last season, more students were hurling themselves out of airplanes, off cliffs, and chilling in alpine spas.
A month later brought us back to Interlaken, with the return of a new work season, new expectations, and more winter fun. Our first weekend up to Interlaken for the spring semester with students claimed more fun, some new friendships, and a great start to another work stay. Before I left home from celebrating the holidays I had become skeptical for the first time as to whether still desired this experience, this lifestyle, and this work. All I needed was winter season in Interlaken, and life was put back on track.
This semester brought Bus2alps’ biggest numbers to Interlaken, with a few staggering weekends pushing upwards of 200 people out of Florence, Rome, Barcelona, Prague, Paris, and London. Students came here to meet up with friends studying in other cities, friends who chose to be elsewhere, but needed the reconciliation in an Alpine place of beauty. The amount of times I was told by students this was the best weekend of their lives was staggering. It reminded me of how I felt on my first bus ride home from Interlaken after coming as a student. It was the best weekend of my life, and what initially drew me to this job.
In the end, we took almost 1000 people to the vast wonderland that is Interlaken. It is tough for me to find such a tranquil, beautiful place in the world that can be torn apart by such high octane extreme sports. The only other place being Queenstown, New Zealand, which in my mind is the lost-twin sibling of Interlaken. Kind of like that TV show Sister-Sister.
It is nice to end a good season on a rewarding experience, to remind the world that work is not about the money, but its about enjoying what you do and enjoying that others are sharing in what you do. Peace out Interlaken Winter. See you for white water rafting, canyoning, and glacier climbing. See you again in summer!